Various groups held protests and counter-protests in Central on Saturday on the issue of refugees in Hong Kong.
Demonstrators belonging to the pro-Beijing Liberal Party marched to the Central Government Offices from Chater Garden in Central, holding placards that said “We want closed camps” and “Deport fake refugees”.
They were led by Dominic Lee Tsz-King, the chairman of the Liberal Party’s Youth Committee. Around 100 to 200 took part in the anti-refugee rally, according to Oriental Daily and Sing Tao Daily.
Meanwhile, different groups also held counter-protests at Chater Garden. Socialist Action protesters waved signs comparing New People’s Party Chairwoman Regina Ip to Hitler and Donald Trump, and accusing her of being racist and a dictator.
This was a reference to Ip’s suggestion in March that the government should put refugees in a closed camp outside of Hong Kong to deter “fake” refugees.
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Activists from Refugee Union were also seen raising banners that read: “Assistance not oppression” and “Camps are double torture”.
In a separate demonstration near Central Government Offices, counter-protesters waved apparently satirical placards bearing the logos of pro-establishment parties that said “Gas them!” and “Tax refugee go home”.
The protesters and counter-protesters came into confrontation with each other and were separated by police.
The protests came amid increasingly heated discussion over the refugee question in Hong Kong.
In January, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying proposed withdrawing from the United Nations convention on torture to block “fake” refugees from coming to the city, a suggestion that has been heavily criticised by NGOs.
Over 90 organisations and 70 individuals then signed a joint statement released by NGO Justice Centre in April, calling for the Hong Kong community and government to work together to stop discrimination towards refugees.